In Pieces by Sally Field
I read this only because it was a book club pick. I do enjoy almost all memoirs; and this did have a good narrative arc, watching Field’s acting career progress in “seriousness”. But I never would have picked this book on my own, mainly because, I really just don’t care about actors. I don’t find acting interesting as an art, and I don’t find actors intrinsically interesting as people. And I had a hard time nailing down who exactly Sally Field was. Funny true story – when we were considering doing this book, someone in book club said that Sally Field was “so good in ‘All in the Family.'” After some puzzlement, we all protested, “That was Sally Struthers!” Then someone added, “Yes, Sally Field was Coal Miner’s Daughter.” Then we all protested, “No, that was Sissy Spacek!” And I’m really embarrassed that I went home chuckling at this, and then read the book the whole time waiting for her to get to her big break playing Major Houlihan in the movie version of M*A*S*H. That, of course was, Sally Kellerman!
But seriously, I think I’ve at least got straight now who Sally Field is and was. She was Gidget, then the Flying Nun. She enjoyed being Gidget but hated every moment of the Flying Nun, and longed to be seen as a serious actor. The book climaxes effectively with her winning the Academy Award for ‘Norma Rae’.
Of course, there’s abuse along the way. Field’s childhood was dominated by sexual abuse by her slimy stepfather while her drunk mother looked the other way. I’m glad she seems to have achieved some degree of closure on those issues by book’s end.